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0:00 GM’s Cruise Recalls 950 Driverless Vehicles
1:02 Renault & Nissan Complete New Alliance Deal
1:46 Renault Gives Free Shares to Workers
2:57 Study: AM Radio Mandate Will Cost Automakers $3.8 Billion
4:24 GM & Stellantis Invest in Rare Earth Free Magnets
5:28 Audi Begins EV Motor Production for New Platform
6:09 Hyundai Plans to Build e-VTOLs In U.S.
6:51 Honda Reveals More Motorcycle E-Clutch Details
7:47 Toyota To Reveal Crown SUV Next Week
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
GM’S CRUISE RECALLS 950 DRIVERLESS VEHICLES
The bad news continues for GM’s autonomous unit Cruise. The company, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, announced it’s recalling 950 of its driverless vehicles across the U.S. and it could recall more. That’s because the collision detection subsystem of its automated software may not respond properly after a crash. Cruise says it has deployed an over-the-air update to fix the issue for its supervised test vehicles and it says all of its driverless vehicles will be repaired before they go back into service. This is the latest in a string of bad news for Cruise. Last month, the California DMV suspended its driverless permits in the state, after one of Cruise’s vehicles was involved in an accident with a pedestrian. And that incident is also being investigated by NHTSA.
RENAULT & NISSAN COMPLETE NEW ALLIANCE DEAL
Renault and Nissan have officially completed their new alliance deal, which will make them more equal partners. Renault cut its stake in Nissan from 43% to 15% by transferring 28% of Nissan’s shares into a French trust. Nissan was previously unhappy with their partnership because Renault had more power even though Nissan is the bigger company. So earlier this year, the two companies agreed to a deal to change that structure. Renault agreed to cut its shares in Nissan and also give Nissan full voting rights for the first time, while Nissan agreed to invest $660 million into Renault’s EV and software division called Ampere.
RENAULT GIVES FREE SHARES TO WORKERS
And in other Renault news, it’s giving its employees some skin in the game. For the second year in a row, it handed out free shares in the company. Later this month over 95,000 workers will get 8 free Renault shares. It also offered additional shares to purchase at a 30% discount, which attracted over 38,000 employees. In total, they invested over 33 million euros in the share purchase program and when everything is all added up, they’ll control 5.25% of Renault’s shares. And by the end of the decade it would like to increase that to 10%. Renault says this shows the commitment of its employees and their confidence in the company’s strategic direction. I say it also gets you some fresh investors and employees who are less likely to complain about moves the company makes that benefit shareholders, which is something we heard a lot about during the recent UAW strikes. But Renault also runs the risk of ticking off a lot of workers if its strategic direction doesn’t pan out.
STUDY: AM RADIO MANDATE WILL COST AUTOMAKERS $3.8 BILLION
As we’ve reported, there’s a big battle in the U.S. over keeping AM radio in new vehicles. At least seven automakers don’t offer AM in their EVs because they say electromagnetic interference from EV motors distort AM signals. However, lawmakers say AM radio needs to remain in vehicles because of its reliability during emergency situations. So, they’ve introduced bipartisan bills in Congress to mandate AM radio in all new vehicles. Automakers oppose the legislation and a new study from the Center for Automotive Research says it will be costly if AM is mandated. The report, which was done in partnership with the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, says it could cost up to $3.8 billion through 2030 to prevent AM signals from being disrupted in EVs. One automaker estimated shielding costs of $35 to $50 and filtering costs of $15 to $20 per vehicle. That’s why automakers want to ditch AM and offer digital or satellite services instead.
GM & STELLANTIS INVEST IN RARE EARTH FREE MAGNETS
GM and Stellantis invested in a company that’s developing magnets without any rare-earth minerals. Like the recent electric motor revealed by Renault and the supplier Valeo for future EVs, which is also rare earth free, they’re trying to reduce their dependence on foreign sources, mainly China, for critical EV materials. It also helps that they can cut costs and reduce their carbon footprints. But unlike the electric motor from Renault and Valeo, which ditched permanent magnets in favor of a wound hairpin motor design, Niron Magnets, the company GM and Stellantis invested in, is developing permanent magnets with “automotive-grade power” and no rare earths. Instead its Clean Earth Magnet technology is based on iron nitride, which is more affordable and abundant than rare earth materials. The investment in Niron Magnets will help it scale its production and commercial operations.
AUDI BEGINS EV MOTOR PRODUCTION FOR NEW PLATFORM
And speaking of EV component production, Audi announced that it started making electric motors for the new PPE architecture, which is a big deal because the models that come from that platform are the ones that have been delayed several times due to its software issues. Models like the all-electric Porsche Macan and Audi Q6 e-tron were supposed to have launched at the end of 2021, but now they won’t enter production until the end of the year and there’s still no word on what software system they’ll be running. Audi says once its e-motor site in Hungary reaches series production, it will build up to 2,000 units a day with three shifts.
HYUNDAI PLANS TO BUILD E-VTOLS IN U.S.
The Hyundai Group is serious about launching an eVTOL or electric vertical and takeoff landing aircraft service in the United States. In an interview with Bloomberg, the CEO of Supernal, Hyundai’s air mobility division, said it is planning to build a manufacturing facility in the U.S. to produce flying taxis. Supernal will unveil a prototype at CES in January and the company says it will be capable of flying 120 MPH, holding up four passengers and a pilot. Test flights are planned for December of 2024 and it is aiming to launch its service in the U.S. in 2028, followed by Europe shortly after that.
HONDA REVEALS MORE MOTORCYCLE E-CLUTCH DETAILS
Honda provided a few more details about its new e-Clutch for manual transmission motorcycles, which makes it so riders don’t have to use the clutch lever on the handle bars. When a gear is selected, two motors inside an actuator unit operate the clutch and the system will also control ignition timing and fuel injection to make the gear shift as smooth as possible. Riders can even adjust how hard they have to hit the pedal to shift gears. And they can still use the standard clutch lever, which disengages the e-Clutch for a few seconds or they can shut off the system completely. Honda is already launching models available with the new e-Clutch and it says the system only weighs 2 kilograms or 4.4 pounds and the clutch and transmission hardware are not different from other motorcycles, so there’s a lot of potential applications.
TOYOTA TO REVEAL CROWN SUV NEXT WEEK
Toyota teased that it’s going to reveal the Crown SUV for North America on November 14th. I originally thought this was going to be a U.S. version of the Crown Sport, which Toyota is taking orders for right now in Japan. But the Crown SUV clearly has different taillights, so this could end up being the true SUV of the Crown lineup, what Toyota has previously called the Crown Estate. But obviously, we’ll know more soon and we’ll be right here to report on it.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for making Autoline a part of your day.
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